Native Americans are the indigenous peoples within the boundaries of the present-day United States, including those in Alaska and Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes and ethnic groups, many of which survive as intact political communities. The terms used to refer to Native Americans have been controversial. According to a 1995 U.S. Census Bureau set of home interviews, most of the respondents with an expressed preference refer to themselves as "American Indians" or simply "Indians"; this term has been adopted by major newspapers and some academic groups, but does not traditionally include Native Hawaiians or certain Alaskan Natives, such as Aleut, Yup'ik, or Inuit peoples.
Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas has led to centuries of conflict and adjustment between Old and New World societies. Many Native Americans lived as hunter-gatherer societies and told their histories by oral traditions; Europeans therefore created almost all of the surviving historical record concerning the conflict.
The history of North America is the study of the past, particularly the written record, oral histories, and traditions, passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere.
The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, and a federal district. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. The largest of these territories are Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands which are an official part of the United States. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the U.S. mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.
The issue of voting rights in the United States has been contentious throughout the country's history. Eligibility to vote in the U.S. is determined by both federal and state law. Currently, only citizens can vote in U.S. federal elections. Who is (or who can become) a citizen is governed on a national basis by federal law. In the absence of a federal law or constitutional amendment, each state is given considerable discretion to establish qualifications for suffrage and candidacy within its own jurisdiction.
When the country was founded, in most states, only non-Negro men with real property (land) or sufficient wealth for taxation were permitted to vote. Freed slaves could vote in four states. Unpropertied white men, women, and all other people of color were denied the franchise. At the time of the American Civil War, most white men were allowed to vote, whether or not they owned property. Literacy tests, poll taxes, and even religious tests were used in various places, and most white women, people of color, and Native Americans still could not vote.
Indian country jurisdiction, or the extent which tribal powers apply to legal situations in the United States, has undergone many drastic shifts since the beginning of European settlement in America. Over time, federal statutes and Supreme Court rulings have designated more or less power to tribal governments, depending on federal policy toward Indians. Numerous Supreme Court decisions have created important precedents in Indian country jurisdiction, such as Worcester v. Georgia, Oliphant v. Suquamish Tribe, and Montana v. United States.
Native American civil rights are the civil rights of Native Americans in the United States.
Although indigenous to the Americas, American Indians became one of many minorities and the movement for American Indian civil rights began almost as soon as Europeans started to arrive in the Western Hemisphere.]citation needed[ Following the establishment of the United States of America, Native Americans were denied basic civil rights for many years. While American Indians did not have a particular period of fighting for their civil rights like the African American Civil Rights Movement,]citation needed[ measures have been taken to achieve equal rights for American Indians throughout history.
The President of the United States of America (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. The person in this position is the leader of the country which has the largest economy and the largest military, with command authority over the largest active nuclear arsenal. The president is frequently described as the most powerful person in the world.
Article II of the U.S. Constitution vests the executive power of the United States in the president and charges him with the execution of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic, regulatory, and judicial officers, and concluding treaties with foreign powers, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, and to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. Since the founding of the United States, the power of the president and the federal government have grown substantially and each modern president, despite possessing no formal legislative powers beyond signing or vetoing congressionally passed bills, is largely responsible for dictating the legislative agenda of his party and the foreign and domestic policy of the United States.